> 2010

Cultural Human Resources Council

Welcome to the
CHRC Newsletter
July 2010

In this issue!

AGM 2010

Tucked in between Executive and Board meetings, the HR Study Roundtable and the annual face to face meeting of CHRC's PATAC partners (Provincial and Territorial Advisory Committee members), CHRC held its Annual General Meeting 2010 in Ottawa, on June 18. As well as the tabling of the President's report, the Executive Director's report, and the mandatory approval of the audited financial statements, members approved the report of the Nominating Committee which recommended the following nominations to the Board:

Digital Media (worker position)
Ian Kelso, Canadian Interactive Alliance

Live Performing Arts (worker position) (continuing for second term)
Parise Mongrain, Dancer Transition Resource Centre

Music and Sound Recording (worker position)
Larry Wanagas, Music Managers Forum

The Board was also pleased to announce the appointment of Al Cushing, Chief Executive Officer of the Yukon Arts Centre, as a Director, bringing a northern perspective to the Board table.

Visit our website for a full Board list for 2010/2011.

At the same time, members expressed their appreciation for the great contributions made by departing Board members Ron Lamoureux who has served on the Board as "worker" representative for Digital Media for three terms (9 years); George Blondheim who has served as the Music "worker" representative on the Board for two terms (6 years); and Barb Nepinak who in her appointed position for 6 years has brought a strong aboriginal perspective to the Board discussion.

Cultural HR Study Roundtable

Karen Virag, Sibyl Frei and Diane Davy during the HR Study Roundtable discussions.

On June 17, CHRC convened a Roundtable of cultural leaders from across the sector and across the country to review the recommendations of the draft Cultural Sector HR Trends and Issues report, currently being prepared for CHRC by the Conference Board of Canada. The fact that there was standing room only at the start of the day is a testament to how interested and engaged cultural sector employers and workers are in human resource issues. As Richard Hornsby, chair of the HR Study Steering Committee, noted: "No one can say any longer that our sector does not "get" the importance of HR issues - that we don't value our human resources as our greatest asset."

The other indication of the grasp the sector has of HR issues was the excellent response to the survey which the Conference Board of Canada used as its primary research into HR issues and trends, to write the report and recommendations. We had almost 3,000 respondents. Certainly enough for hard headed researchers to feel confident in drawing conclusions. Thank you to all of those who took the time to answer the survey. Your voices are heard.

"I would like to congratulate CHRC for organizing such a successful Roundtable. You identified and brought together a large and quite remarkable group of knowledgeable people from all areas of the cultural sector. Their high level of participation and the very positive results were most heartening. The Roundtable was a demonstration of commitment and collaboration that one always hopes for but rarely experiences."
John Hobday

Participants in the Roundtable reviewed and commented on a series of general recommendations in a plenary session; and then divided into working groups to consider sub-sector specific recommendations. Discussion was lively and the feedback indicated a sophisticated engagement in and grasp of HR issues and their impact by employers and workers alike. CHRC has been well guided by the wisdom and experience of that Roundtable.

The HR Study Executive Group is now synthesizing the many suggestions and comments to ensure that the major themes are emerging and key ideas are clearly represented in the final report and recommendations.

Over the summer the Cultural Sector HR Trends and Issues report and the complementary Labour Market Information (LMI) report will be finalized and prepared for release in late September. These milestone documents will guide CHRC and the sector for years to come in the management of HR issues.


One of CHRC's permanent committees is its Provincial and Territorial Advisory Committee or PATAC. The members of this committee, affectionately referred to as "Patacians", represent provincial and territorial organizations that address cultural HR issues. They range from provincial organizations devoted entirely to HR issues (as in Québec, Ontario and PEI), to HR mandate/advocacy groups (as in BC, Newfoundland and Manitoba), to those with early beginnings of HR interest (as in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Alberta and the Territories). There is no single model, nor need there be - there is even the Saskatchewan example of a shared seat at the PATAC table, by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture. The importance of PATAC is the networking it facilitates and nurtures which helps to knit together the HR fabric of our sector across the country.

CHRC holds regular conference calls with PATAC partners to bring each other up to date on HR issues and to share solutions. PATAC meets face to face once a year, generally around CHRC's AGM. This year's meeting preceded the HR Trends and Issues Roundtable. As the provinces are vital players in the delivery of training, the PATAC partners were keenly interested in the recommendations flowing from the HR Trends and Issues report, and how they might participate at a provincial and territorial level in implementing them.

Québec in particular has been an active participant in the development of the report, sitting with ACI Manitoba on the HR Study Steering Committee. CQRHC will be referring to the recommendations in the development of their own strategic plan in the coming weeks. In preparation for this, they included a presentation by CHRC on the HR Study at their well attended AGM in early June.

A recent PATAC/CHRC initiative was the development of teaching modules for The Art of Managing Your Career at a post secondary level. At their meeting in June, CHRC and PATAC partners received an evaluation report on the first delivery of the modules, in Manitoba, in partnership with ACI. There were some small suggestions for improvement, which CHRC will undertake over the summer. But the response of those who took the course was overwhelming positive:

  • This course has offered me more assistance to my artistic career than I've ever had before. I am more equipped with skills and confidence ...

  • The benefit of witnessing the concerns of people in other fields is inspiring, reassuring, enlightening.

  • Marketing is no longer a dirty word to me.

  • [Learning about finances] turned on the light for me, made me feel as though I had discovered the secret to surviving and making it in the arts.

These modules are available to training providers to adapt or adopt as they wish. Please contact CHRC directly if you wish to use them.

The modules do not exist in French because a French parallel online course, based on L'Art de gérer sa carrière, is being developed by le Conseil québécois des ressources humaines en culture and will be available to francophones across the country, hopefully by the fall.

The Digital Economy Strategy and the Cultural Sector

Following up on a highly successful Canada 3.0 conference in Stratford in early May, Industry Minister Tony Clement, on behalf of his colleagues Heritage Minister James Moore and HRSDC Minister Diane Finley, released a consultation paper on a Digital Economy Strategy for Canada, entitled Improving Canada's Digital Advantage. The Minister invited all interested stakeholders to submit their comments by July 9.

A whole chapter devoted to "Building Digital Skills for Tomorrow" highlights the central place of training and skills development in the Digital Economy Strategy. Another chapter, "Digital Media: Creating Canada's Digital Content Advantage", recognizes the unparalleled opportunity to seize a digital advantage on the creative global stage we have as Canadians. Many content creators will be responding to the consultation paper. CHRC's response addresses the importance of supporting Digital Media content creators by providing them with the skills they need to create with cutting edge technology. An important point in the submission is that the Digital Economy Strategy should focus equally on building digital skills in the cultural sector, not just the skills in the ICT sector. As in CHRC's Technology Roadmap for Digital Media Content Creation the submission to the consultation paper recognizes the symbiotic relationship that exists between art and technology - each one pushing and building on the other.

It is not just a question of the cultural sector bringing in new computer sciences students to join cultural workers - although in many cases a computer science background for the cultural worker is an excellent foundation; rather, it is the development of computer literacy and digital expertise among cultural workers, so that they can integrate the ICT skills into their particular creative industry or heritage occupation.

Over the Summer

CHRC's Secretariat and Board will be busy over the summer, putting the final touches on the Cultural Sector HR Study and planning its release in the fall; developing a Strategic Plan for the Council based on the Study's recommendations; launching three new major projects (more about that in upcoming press releases and the September e-newsletter); and beginning to develop the concept project proposals for 2011/2012, also based on the HR Study's recommendations.

We hope we all get to catch a few of those glorious and fleeting moments of warmth and sunshine over the next two months.

Happy summer!

As always, keep in touch....

Susan Annis, Executive Director
Extension 22 -

Erma Barnett, Finance Officer
Extension 29 -

Lucie M. D'Aoust, Sr. Project Manager
Extension 21 -

Geneviève Denis, Manager, Communications and Marketing
Extension 31 -

Geneviève Guilmette, Youth Internship Program Coordinator, Project Manager
Extension 28 -

Michael Lechasseur, Web Coordinator
Extension 26 -

A list of 2010/2011 Board members can be found on CHRC's web site at

Join us on

An important development in Saskatchewan on Status of the Artist


The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce that The Arts Professions Act is now in effect and with it, a focus on growing and strengthening the arts sector by promoting effective business practices between artists and those who contract their services.

"Artists and the business sector have not always approached working together with the same understanding of agreements," Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Dustin Duncan said. "This legislation is designed to help increase that understanding and to strengthen their relationships."

The Arts Professions Act requires written contracts between professional artists and those who hire them or use their creative work. The Act also recognizes the artist as a professional and, as a professional, emphasizes the importance of fair compensation.

The Act was designed to respect the working conditions of artists by responding directly to what professional artists have identified as necessary to enhance their bottom line. This includes increased market access; improved business planning skills; and greater access to information that will support their careers, such as knowledge of general contracting.

"Artists and cultural workers are an integral part of a vibrant province," SaskMusic Executive Director J.P. Ellson said. "The economic and cultural impacts on Saskatchewan of the business conducted by these workers are a crucial component of a solid, diversified provincial economy. This legislation recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of culture within Saskatchewan and we applaud the government for its insight and assistance."

The ministry worked closely with various industry associations to develop an education and awareness strategy that includes tools such as contract templates, workshops and checklists that are tailored to the needs of the different sectors. To ensure easy access to these tools an information portal has been developed and can be found on the ministry's website.

"Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) Saskatchewan supports the use of contracts," CARFAC Saskatchewan Executive Director Patrick Close said. "The contract requirement, and the recognition for professional artists found in The Arts Professions Act, will help Saskatchewan visual artists as they pursue their chosen creative professions."

"Written contracts are an effective business practice that can help solidify the relationship between an artist and those that hire them by providing a clear understanding of the transaction," Duncan said. "This provides an extra measure of protection to both parties. It also helps make business more straightforward and profitable."

The Arts Professions Act is one component of government's plan to implement the new cultural policy, Pride of Saskatchewan, with its goals of facilitating artistic excellence and expanding commercial opportunities.

Details on both can be found at


Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC)
201-17 York Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J6
Tel. 613-562-1535   Fax 613-562-2982